Highlight: Bob and Lois Hageman

This entry has been published on June 1, 2022 and may be out of date.

Each month, we will highlight the different namesakes of the rooms within the library. These individuals have contributed greatly to make our institution what it is today, and we are deeply grateful for their commitment.

Robert “Bob” and Lois Hageman moved with their son to Summit in 1980. Bob was a securities analyst on Wall Street. Lois was a librarian and a theater and music performer. They were very involved in the local community.

Bob coached youth baseball and served on the Summit Area Red Cross Board of Directors for many years. Retirement allowed him to spend more time with his interests in history, writing, and painting. Bob researched and wrote many stories on local history for the Summit Historical Society newsletter, and served as editor. Bob donated two beautiful watercolors of trout fish to the library. These paintings hang in Quiet Study Room #1, the room which is dedicated to the Hagemans.

Lois has been a member of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for 31 years, serving as Regent several times, and currently the Chaplain. She has volunteered at the Junior League shop and sang in the Junior League’s musical troupe, the Larks. She performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Overlook Musical Theater, the Stony Hill Players, and the Summit Playhouse. Throughout her career, Lois worked in public and school libraries. In the early 1990s she joined the staff of the Summit Free Public Library as a part-time children’s librarian. Bob and Lois were also active members of the Central Presbyterian Church, where Lois sang in the choir.

The Hagemans generously donated to the 1995 capital campaign for the expansion and renovation of the Summit Free Public Library, but they wanted to do more. In 1996, Lois introduced the idea of a community play fundraiser to benefit the Library, and the Board of Trustees approved. She chose “The Music Man”, since the lead character is a librarian. Lois served as the producer, and also played the character of Alma Hix. She recruited several friends to help with the production, including Anne Poyner as director and Sherri Williamson as musical director. The Summit Symphony Orchestra generously provided the musical accompaniment. Over 300 volunteers from the local community participated, including 76 cast members, and the production received generous donations of materials and space from businesses, local non-profits, and the city of Summit. The performance was a huge hit and raised $50,000 for the library’s capital campaign. It lifted spirits, brought the city of Summit together, and strengthened support for the library. Read more about the musical fundraiser in this June 26, 1997 Star-Ledger article.

Due to the success of “The Music Man”, the community recruited Lois to produce “George M!” in 1999 for the 100th anniversary of Summit. After that, she led the Summit Music Festival, which ran for 10 years.

As we approach the 25th anniversary of the “The Music Man” fundraiser, which opened on June 26, 1997, we would like to thank Bob and Lois Hageman for their support, dedication, and many contributions to the Summit Free Public Library.

Many thanks to Adult Services librarian Elizabeth Hathway for researching the contributions of Bob and Lois Hageman to the Summit Free Public Library and the Summit community.